Monday, 21 February 2011

Making do and Mending

Modern clothes (at least the kind I can afford on a teacher's wage) are rubbish. I tend to buy my clothes from various brands of one clothing giant and I've noticed recently that they are just not lasting the course; cardigans that develop holes in the seams after a couple of wears or a wash, trousers where seams are not properly sewn. I have a sneaky feeling that clothes companies are trying to squeeze profits in at a time when everyone is suffering by lowering the quality of their garments, yet charging the same price. Bad form.

I also buy a lot of clothes off eBay (I have a weakness for Monsoon skirts and they are very expensive to buy new... they are also not the brand I am complaining about) and find that the quality of older clothing from aforementioned clothing giant is better- thus backing up my theory.

You may ask why I don't take things back- usually because a) I've lost my reciept or b) I notice too late to take advantage of exchange policies. So I've decided to declare war on my clothes before I look like someone who doesn't care how she looks.

For example, I am going to repair those trousers with a bit of black thread and a needle. I have a skirt (also known as the 'cabbage' skirt because of the pattern; I think it is supposed to be a peony pattern) that I have worn on and off for nearly four years. I love it, yet the zip is broken and the black and white colouring bores me. Hey presto, new zip and a dye bath- new skirt. I have socks with holes in them- I am lucky to have the skills and the resources to knit new ones with easy to fix modifications.

But what irritates me a lot about the 'make-do and mend' movement is that I find a lot of the websites inherently patronising. Make do and mend shouldn't just be the preserve of ladies who lunch and yummy mummies, but a lot of the sites and books appear to be aimed at those core groups. What about skint officer worker? Struggling pensioner? It's nice to be able to afford high quality stuff and do it to make your clothes look a bit different and/or save the planet. But what if you're doing it because you genuinely can't afford new clothes or a sewing machine (or are scared of them, like I am)? What if you can't afford Amy Butler fabrics or new clothes from quality labels?

Anyway, I must dash. I have some darning to do.

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